The association between modifiable lifestyle behaviour in Latin-American schoolchildren with abdominal obesity and excess weight. A comparison of Chile and Colombia

Endocrinol Diabetes Nutr (Engl Ed). 2022 Jan;69(1):4-14. doi: 10.1016/j.endien.2021.01.007.


Objective: The purpose was to determine the association of lifestyle (i.e., Mediterranean diet [MD] adherence, physical activity [PA], screen time [ST]) and fitness with abdominal obesity (AO) and excess weight in the Chilean and Colombian schoolchildren.

Research methods & procedures: This cross-sectional study included 969 schoolchildren, girls (n=441, 5.24±0.80 years old) and boys (n=528, 5.10±0.78 years old) from Chile (n=611) and Colombia (n=358). The body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), waist-to-height ratio (WtHR), MD adherence, PA, ST and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) were evaluated. The association of AO and anthropometric variables with lifestyle was estimated through multiple linear regression. To determine the association between AO and lifestyle, a logistic regression and the inclusion of odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were used.

Results: Worse CRF in Chilean children were positively correlated with WC. Excess weight in Chilean and Colombian children was positively associated with an unhealthy lifestyle. In Chilean children unhealthy lifestyle was also associated with AO based on WC≥85th percentile and AO based on WtHR≥85th percentile. In Chilean children, excess weight (BMI≥85th percentile) was positively associated with poor MD adherence.

Conclusion: AO and excess weight were associated with an unhealthy lifestyle in Latin-American schoolchildren. Interventions to reduce the prevalence of AO should include promoting healthier lifestyle choices (i.e., increasing PA after school, reducing ST and improving CRF).

Keywords: Abdominal obesity; Actividad física; Nivel nutricional; Nutritional level; Obesidad abdominal; Physical activity; Resistance endurance; Resistencia.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chile / epidemiology
  • Colombia / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Obesity, Abdominal* / epidemiology
  • United States